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Motives for Arson

Motives for Arson. Arson. The willful use of fire to destroy property or cause bodily harm defraud insurance thrill crime revenge/hate crime murder sex crime Personalities of arsonists vary widely dependent upon motive typically juvenile males.

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Motives for Arson

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  1. Motives for Arson

  2. Arson • The willful use of fire to destroy property or cause bodily harm • defraud insurance • thrill crime • revenge/hate crime • murder • sex crime • Personalities of arsonists vary widely dependent upon motive • typically juvenile males

  3. Investigating Suspicious FiresArsonists’ Motives There are several motives for most arson fires: • economic, revenge, intimidation, and extortion • Examples: • Burning of buildings to collect on the artificially inflated insurance value • Setting fire to a place in revenge or to teach the owner a “lesson” • Setting fire to a business that refuses to pay for protection

  4. Defraud insurance • Arson is one way to defraud property insurance • maximum effort to hide nature of crime • period of financial crisis • outdated inventory • relocating/renovating business • take advantage of government redevelopment incentives • false inventory claims • Timing of fire---children out of home • removal of psychological valuables • faked vandalism

  5. Thrill Arson • Typically perpetrated by male children/juveniles • 15-20% females • Typically sloppier, more clearly arson, targets may be valueless • Accidental arson - less likely to do damage • fires start in isolated areas • “proper instruction” nearly valueless • “Angry Child” firesetters • typically 7-13 • fire set at home or parental property • little effort to hide arson • conflicted homes?

  6. Thrill Arson 2 • “Delinquent” firesetter is about 11+ • arson to cover up vandalism • targets may be abandoned buildings--or revenge targets • “Pleasure” arsonist • children or juveniles who love fire • fantasize about fire • most likely group to eventually set fatal fires • stay to watch fire • sex arsonists as adults

  7. Revenge/Hate Crime • Targeted specific individuals/groups • African-American church burnings • abortion clinic firebombings • Personalities may mix paranoid, antisocial and passive-aggressive traits • may be active, but not accepted in hate groups • typically “fringe” individuals • low social skills • cowardly • may have arrest record for trespass/vandalism (less likely for assault)

  8. Arson as Murder • Arson may be used to attempt to hide nature of crime • hard to pull off with forensic medicine • reflects complete detachment with victim • fire may start near/on victims • Arson also used to cover up evidence • Destroys much forensic evidence • may reflect premeditation • still demonstrates detachment from victim

  9. Arson as Murder 2 • Arson as family annihilation • almost always male • reflects desperate antisocial personality • Arson as murder weapon • reflects EXTREME hatred of victim • high likelihood of intimate/sexual bond • sadistic traits to personality • used by both males and females

  10. Sex Crime Arson • Rarest and arguably most dangerous form of arson (pyromania) • Sex arsonist receive pleasure from watching destructive fire • May stay to watch fire • Escalation of crime • Personality features: • highly deviant, may have some psychotic traits • typically loners, unlikely to have willing partner • hateful personalities, deviant sexual fantasies • spotty work histories • older, poorly maintained automobiles

  11. Waco Texas • David Koresh and Branch Davidians • stockpile serious weapons • FBI insiders • Feb 28, 1993 ATF raid • ATF--4 dead 16 injured • BD---undetermined dead and wounded (Koresh is wounded) • FBI takes over scene, talks begin • Brand Davidian killed trying to return to compound • March 2 • Koresh promises to surrender if tape of his preachings broadcast • tape is broadcast, no surrender

  12. Waco 2 • Conciliatory gesture--drop charges on 2 women • FBI profilers suggest increasing pressure bad idea • March 5 • 9yo girl released with “suicide” note • March 9 • electricity cut to compound • March 12 • Reno sworn in as AG • March 15 • turn floodlights on compound, refuse to listen to “Bible babble”

  13. Waco 3 • March 25 • armored cars begin removing motorcycles from compound • March 29 • Koresh and negotiator meet face to face over objections of US attorneys and Texas Rangers • April 2-9, Koresh promises surrender after “passover” but later recants • April 13 Tear gas plan approved by Reno and Clinton • April 16 Koresh states he will not come out until he writes a manuscript explaining the “seven seals” • April 15 FBI concludes BDs have enough food and water to survive 1 year • April 18, BDs hold children up in tower window with sign “Flames await”

  14. April 19 • 5:59 Negotiators warn BDs of tear-gas attack, advise them to come out • 6:02 CEVs begin inserting flammable tear gas • 6:04 BDs open fire on CEVs • FBI BFVs return fire • 7:30 compound wall breached • 7:45-11:45 CEVs tear apart compound • Noon: BDs begin systematically • setting fires

  15. Waco Fire • 12:25 gunfire from within compound • 12:45 Firefighting efforts begin • 9 survivors • approx 80 dead including 22 children • Koresh among dead • Contentious issues • Not sure if ATF or BDs fired first • BDs did set fire

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